Transformation through collaboration: Empowering Pacific learners, businesses and employers

(Front Left) Chris Gosling – Chief Executive Hāpaitia, Tofilau Talalelei Taufale – Co-Chair Pacific Fono & Toitū te Waiora, Claire Robinson – Chief Executive Toi Mai, Paul Retimanu – Chair Pacific Business Trust, Mary Los’e – Chief Executive Pacific Business Trust, Minister Rev. Nove Vailaau, Antonia Lilii – Board Member Muka Tangata

(Back Left) Hayley Semenoff – GM Partnership and Engagement Toitū te Waiora, Po’e Jerome Mika Pacific – Co-Chair Pacific Fono & Hanga-Aro-Rau, Kari Scrimshaw – Chief Executive Ringa Hora, Jeremy Baker – Chief Executive Muka Tangata, Philip Alexander-Crawford – Chief Executive Hanga-Aro-Rau.


Strengthening career pathways and building a pipeline of Pacific talent through skills that industry need, now and in the future is at the heart of a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) between the Pacific Business Trust (PBT) and the Workforce Development Councils (WDCs).

The agencies signed the MoC in Wellington today, underpinning their commitment to a partnership that recognises the importance of Aotearoa New Zealand’s current and future Pacific workforce.  This agreement provides a vital opportunity to bring together the skills leadership of the WDCs with PBT’s strong business and community connections to ensure our workforces have the people and skills they need to thrive while enabling transformational change to achieve business goals and aspirations.

The WDCs, Ringa Hora, Muka Tangata, Hanga-Aro-Rau, Toi Mai and Toitū te Waiora, give industries greater leadership and voice across vocational education and training. They have a range of responsibilities, including setting standards, developing qualifications alongside industry, and advising the Tertiary Education Commission on investment in vocational education. The MoC assures Pacific employers and business owners that the WDCs and PBT will work together to address their future skills needs so that learners will be better prepared and ready for work.

“Our consolidated approach is geared towards enriching vocational training experiences for Pacific peoples and ensuring they are prepared for emerging employment opportunities and challenges. We can also strengthen and better align our approach so we’re not duplicating efforts but have a joint focus on achieving better vocational education and skills for Pacific learners and the future workforce,” says Po’e Jerome Mika, Co-Chair of the WDCs Pacific Fono. The Pacific Fono comprises members with Pacific heritage from the WDCs and champions strategic direction within the vocational ecosystem. They are committed to amplifying the Pacific voice for maximum impact by nurturing pivotal partnerships.

PBT delivers tailored programmes and services to support Pacific entrepreneurs and businesses and provide the right access to enable and drive sustainable economic growth.

“This is a significant milestone for PBT.  Pacific business is at the heart of what we do. Working with the WDCs means partnering strategically and collaboratively to ensure we have the right pathways and skills in place to support not only the development of a sustainable workforce in a range of areas but also ensure our businesses have the confidence they’ll get the right people with the right skill set for their industries. This also aligns to our focus, as the Pacific economic development agency, to enable Pacific business, through innovation to drive sustainable growth and enable them to achieve their goals.  It’s about preparing for our future,” says PBT Chair, Paul Retimanu.

The MoC will:

  • Foster a productive working relationship between the WDCs and PBT, promoting cooperation and collaboration for the benefit of Pacific learners, employees, and businesses in the workplace
  • Provide learners and employees with high quality, timely, and relevant qualifications that enable organisational and business operational excellence now and in future
  • Better align engagement and relationships across the parties in a coordinated way that removes duplication, allowing more time to achieve better vocational education training and skills outcomes for Pacific peoples
  • Through innovative and creative solutions and collaborating with Pacific businesses, the partnership will help create meaningful career pathways to ensure success, growth and sustainability.

For more information:

WDC Media Contact: Talia Brown, E:[email protected]

PBT Media Contact: Mere Martin, E: [email protected]


Notes for Editors:

About Pacific Business Trust

The Pacific Business Trust (PBT) is the Pacific economic development agency of Aotearoa New Zealand. We provide a free, personalised service with a focus on helping Pacific businesses to realise ambitious plans, build capability with confidence, tap into innovative solutions and learn what it takes to grow sustainably, through our customised programmes and services.

About Toitū te Waiora

Toitū te Wairoa is the Workforce Development Council for the Community, Health, Education, and Social Services sector. Its focus is on people helping people.

About Ringa Hora

Ringa Hora represents a wide range of industries in the Services sector, including Aviation & Airport, Business & Professional, Cleaning, Contact Centres & Industry Support, Financial & Advisory, Government, Defence & Security, Hospitality & Food, Real Estate & Rental, Retail & Distribution, and Tourism & Travel.

About Muka Tangata

Muka Tangata is the voice of 14 industry groups that make up the food and fibre sector of Aotearoa New Zealand inside vocational education and training. We work on ways to enhance vocational education and training (VET) to meet the needs of industry, iwi and hapū Māori, ākonga (learners), and kaimahi (workers) and support them to flourish.

About Hanga-Aro-Rau

Hanga-Aro-Rau is the Workforce Development Council for the Manufacturing, Engineering, and Logistics sector. It represents businesses that employ 657,000 people in about 105,000 businesses that contribute $80 billion to New Zealand’s gross domestic product.

About Toi Mai

Toi Mai is the workforce development council for the creative, cultural, recreation and technology sectors, represented under the umbrella of Ngā Peka o Toi:

  • Toi Pāho (broadcast and screen)
  • Toi Puaki (expressive arts)
  • Toi Whānui (enabling technologies)
  • Toi Māori (creation of taonga works and the oral arts)
  • Toi ā-Ringa (art and design)
  • Toi Ora (sport, recreation and cultural organisations).